FINAL Water Story MKE logo.jpg

Want to explore our city? Want to have fun with your friends? Ready to discover how water connects our past, present, and future? Water Story MKE is a free app being developed by Reflo to reveal the water stories hidden in plain sight throughout Milwaukee.


It's a digital scavenger hunt using the Water Story MKE app. All you need to play is a smartphone and a sense of adventure.

Travel to six sites across the city to earn points, explore secret areas, and unlock themed treks. On your journey, hear the real stories of Milwaukee's water citizens. Discover history and green infrastructure hidden in plain sight.

This app is perfect for social adventure dates, friendly competition, school groups, families, tourists, or get-out-of-the-office outings. Find out why Milwaukee is a "Water City."

On July 22, teams raced for exciting prizes (including kayak excursions from Milwaukee Kayak Company, a month of free biking from Bublr Bikes, a Lakefront Brewery gift basket, T-shirts from River Revitalization Foundation, and two spots on a tandem kayak paddle with Milwaukee Riverkeeper). Event photos coming soon! See this WUWM story for a summary.

The start line for the four-hour adventure was at Cream City Farms, 2055 N. 30th St. The app went live at 10 a.m. Congratulations to the first Water Adventurers! If you have questions and want to see the app in action, join Milwaukee Water Commons for the We Are Water event at the north end of Bradford Beach on Sunday, Aug. 6. Reflo will be on site to help you get started exploring!

Water Story MKE is a Reflo project in collaboration with Ex Fabula and supported by Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust and in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council*, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities** and the State of Wisconsin. 

On Feb. 21, 2017, Reflo partnered with Ex Fabula to sponsor a community StorySlam where the theme was "Water." The event attracted 253 people to Lakefront Brewery to share their water stories including nine storytellers on stage, 79 who shared written UltraShorts on the theme, and dozens who tried out the Lakefront Brewery leg of Water Story MKE on our demo iPads, courtesy of Arts @ Large.

Enjoy this photo slideshow of the smashing event, courtesy of Ex Fabula. All photos below by Art Montes.

UW-Sea Grant and Wisconsin Coastal Management also supported the Ex Fabula StorySlam, and Sea Grant's Moira Harrington's blog post reflecting on the human focus of the event can be read here.

*The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.

**Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Take the plunge. Explore Milwaukee's Water Stories.

Milwaukee Water Commons "We Are Water" gathering featuring Margaret Noodin sharing Ojibwe words of water and wisdom.

State Senator Chris Larson discusses the history of state-level lakefront protection at Milwaukee's Bradford Beach in July 2016.

Rima Shah's family came from water-scarce regions of the world, so she feels the true value of Lake Michigan on our doorstep.


Great Water Race Prizes generously donated by our community partners